By committing to the Tongan national team this week, Tevita Pangai Junior becomes the latest NRL player to choose international duty over State of Origin.
The Brisbane Broncos forward told New South Wales coach Brad Fittler he would not represent the Blues if called up in 2019, choosing instead to pledge his services to his home country at a representative level.
On today’s episode of the Game of Codes podcast, Roar rugby league expert Mary Konstantopoulos joins Editor Daniel Jeffrey in discussing whether players turning down State of Origin in favour of representing smaller international teams is a growing trend, and what impact it has on rugby league globally.
Listen to the debate:
Pangai Junior is no certainty for Origin selection but told Fittler of his decision to prevent any awkward selection dilemmas should he be called up for the Blues.
The 23-year-old isn’t the first NRL player to commit to Tonga in recent times, with Andrew Fifita and Jason Taumololo also choosing the island nation over State of Origin.